Sens. Cruz and Lee Lead Senate Republicans in Challenging FCC’s Unlawful ‘Digital Equity’ Rules

March 14, 2024

Biden order would give federal government sweeping control of the internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) today led a group of 19 senators in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) so-called “Digital Discrimination” order. The order, which the FCC voted to finalize in November, gives the federal government control over nearly every aspect of the broadband industry while exposing companies to expansive, indeterminate, and crippling liability under a “disparate impact” standard. The FCC’s order, which ignores the plain language of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will harm broadband investment and undermine the goal of promoting high-speed internet access for all Americans.   

“Despite admitting there’s ‘little to no evidence’ of discrimination by broadband companies, the Biden administration has plowed ahead with government-mandated affirmative action and race-based pricing for broadband,” said Sen. Cruz. The only beneficiaries of the FCC’s Orwellian ‘equity’ plan are overzealous government regulators who want to control the internet. This resolution will roll back FCC Democrats’ unlawful power grab.”

The FCC’s heavy-handed 'Digital Discrimination' rule is a solution in search of a problem,” said Sen. Lee.It’s a broad overreach that threatens to entangle the internet in red tape, jeopardizing the very innovation that has made it a cornerstone of modern life. This resolution is our stand against Biden's attempt to regulate the internet into oblivion, ensuring the internet remains a dynamic and competitive marketplace for ideas, not a utility subject to government whims.

Under the FCC’s new order, nearly every aspect of the internet—including a broadband provider’s deployment decisions, network reliability, network maintenance, equipment, pricing, promotional discounts, customer service, language options, credit checks, marketing and advertising, and more—will be subject to potential FCC enforcement actions, including multi-million-dollar forfeitures and injunctive orders, under a disparate impact standard.

Back in November, Sen. Cruz led a group of 28 senators in calling on the FCC to rescind its draft order.

Co-sponsors of the joint resolution of disapproval include: Sens. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).

Representatives Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) have introduced companion legislation in the House.